Chicago Day 1

It’d been a while (December, in fact) since I’d gone on a trip.  So I randomly decided to go to Chicago on my “weekend,” for two very simple reasons: 1) I was born and raised in IL, and yet I’d only been to Chicago once when I was about 8 or 9 (I don’t count my marathon day of driving when I had an interview up there because I saw nothing other than the building my interview was in); and 2) If all goes as planned, I’m going to go to grad school at U of Chicago, and I thought I should probably check out the campus first.

 

The day got off to a…. less than auspicious beginning.  My flight was scheduled for the hellishly early hour of 6am, so I set my alarm for the even more hellishly early hour of 3:50.  Guess who apparently slept through her alarm and just happened to wake by complete chance at 4:45?  Yep, me!  4:45 was when I planned on arriving at the airport….not climbing out of bed.  It’s amazing what a little adrenaline can do, and I was out of the house in ten minutes and at the airport by 5:11.  Because of stupid airport public transit, I didn’t get to the terminal until 5:28.  I was then confronted with a much-longer-than-it-should-have-been-at-5:30-in-the-morning security line.  I hadn’t yet resigned myself to missing my flight (though I was silently trying to figure out how to talk myself onto standby on the next one without a price increase) and I managed to make it through security and dash onto my plane with minutes to spare.  I was the third to last one on the flight and literally within six minutes of sitting down, we were taxi-ing down the runway.

 

The rest of my day passed without trouble (thank goodness), and here’s a little taste of the major things I did the first day:

I started the day downtown (aka The Loop) and wandered around for a while until I got to Buckingham Fountain in Grant’s Park.

 

I wandered through Grant Park up through Millenium Park, where I came upon the famed Bean.  I’d read about this sculpture and thought it was over-rated until I saw it.  There’s just something totally awesome about it that I can’t put my finger on….

After some more meandering around downtown and checking out the huge public library and some of the architecture along the Chicago River, I checked into my hostel (yes, EK, I stayed in a hostel.  Don’t look so shocked, it’s totally to be expected from me lol).

It was free admission day to the Art Institute of Chicago, so of course I had to check it out.  I was mildly disappointed.  They didn’t have anything I hadn’t seen before in some variation.  But considering I’ve frequented the Met, the MoMa, the Hermitage, and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, that’s hardly their fault, and it’s certainly worth a visit all the same.

 

I then walked along the Magnificent Mile before heading to one of my favorite parts of the city: Lincoln Park.  The highlight of this park (aside from the view) is the fact that it has an actually sandy beach.  If you didn’t know you were in the Midwest, you’d think you were on the coast.  Lake Michigan has the wave effect and endless horizons and everything.

I ended the day by eating a horribly unhealthy scoop of Ben & Jerry’s while walking along Navy Pier, which is like the Chicago attempt at Coney Island, though much smaller and less…..odd.

 

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Road Trip

I try not to blog about my job search because a) It depresses me, and b) I know it’s hardly an interesting topic to anyone else.  But on Friday, I proved that no one can say I’m not willing to do what I have to to get a job.

 

See, I’ve been applying for a lot of admin positions in addition to management and various other positions, because I figure I’m more likely to get hired for admin.  I got a call on Thursday from a company in Chicago I’d applied to, wanting to know if I could make it in for an interview the following day.  The job wasn’t one I particularly wanted (if I got it, I’d continue looking for other work) but the salary was okay and the company was large, so I said alright.  I drove my dad to work at 7am on Friday, and by 7:45 I was on my way to Chicago.  For those who don’t know, it’s like a five hour drive…..Anyway, I got there at 1 with no problems, wandered around, had my interview at 2, and was heading back to St. Louis by 3.  Ten hours in a car all for a half hour first interview for a job I’m overqualified for and probably won’t get…..see, I’m nothing if not dedicated 😉

 

PS:  IL is soooo boring to drive through.  The most exciting part of the whole trip were the wind turbine farms about an hour outside of Chicago, and they were only “exciting” because they weren’t flat….

 

PPS: NYC spoiled me.  When I saw the Chicago skyline from the highway, my first thought was “that’s it?”

Let’s Go Chicago!

That is a phrase I have never uttered before in my life, nor do I forsee myself uttering it again after tomorrow. As a person from southern Illinois, I dislike Chicago for little reason other than it being Chicago. The people there–as in other big cities–are ignorant about those who do not live in their city. They assume that Illinoisans who do not live in Chicago must therefore live on farms and be lucky to graduate high school….right…. Politicians don’t hide that Chicago is the only city they really care about–even Barack Obama was no different. Our ex-governor refused to leave Chicago for the capital, Springfield, because he said that switching schools would “traumatize” his five year old daughter. Again….right…. Oh, and yes, you did read it right–Chicago is NOT the capital! And don’t even get me started on the Cubs and their drunken fans….

But for one day this week, none of that matters. On Friday, the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics will be announced, and Chicago is a finalist (though Rio is the favorite). The honor of hosting the Olympics supercedes any squabbling about our petty differences. Yes, some people will be displaced, but the building of the stadiums will provide jobs in this difficult economy, and will provide a lasting boost to the image and feel of the city. At this point it’s anyone’s game, but here’s hoping that the Windy City can pull through as its baseball team never does 😉